For those who play at church or not.

yesdog

Silver Member
I understand but these churches must be full of young people. The older folks would cringe to listen to loud music. What we call medium volume they would call stadium volume. And most churhes I have been in have these high vaulted ceilings which would be terrible for sound. I sang in the choir in senior high and we had no mics. We sang at a volume that all could hear even in the back row. So unless you are playing in the Crystal Cathedral, why would you need electric guitars anyway?
We keep it at 80 to 95db, I concider 80db exceptable for loud. Pipe organs can get very loud, but sound sweet. Outside of the world of church music, I've recorded drums in a old traditional church. Granted there was no one there, the room just sounded awesome with the natural ambiance of the room. I know in that case drums would be over kill, but we used it for a different reason.
 
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Jankowske

Senior Member
I played at a small church a couple of times, with a small choir and piano. Before service, with just the first few people trickling in, I got some "woohoo, a drummer!" responses and people wanting me to play a little something for them. I told them I didn't want to play anything too loud but they said it wouldn't be a problem. I gave them about 30 seconds of metal, more than enough to see them realize that they seriously underestimated the volume of my instrument and probably dread whatever was going to happen later. But everyone was smiling and singing and clapping along once I was tastefully tip-tapping away with the choir. No volume complaints in this downright puny church with mostly older people and seniors attending, and they even wanted me back.

I’ve worked with some really great drummers, so please trust me when I say that acoustic drum kits are a significant problem in nearly all church worship service settings.
Really, mister 4000-seater sound guy? What kind of gospel-chops monsters are you working with that don't know how to/can't be told to hit the drums softer? Just hit them softer. Maybe even resort to using those hot rod sticks or a bandana on the snare, or some socks on the kick beater. I don't have a problem with electric kits, but it's funny how apparently so many hundreds of people in these churches are offended by the drummer's volume, yet no one can tell the drummer to play quieter and it allegedly becomes the sound guy's fault.
 

Vintage Old School

Gold Member
I know Curt personally and trust me, he has seen the best and the worst in a wide variety of church acoustics and their worship team members. He isn't singling out drummers necessarily to be the culprits here, but he's taking in a vast array of other factors including room acoustics, quality of PA system and FOH engineer experience, etc. I think his point is if a drummer can't properly tune his kit and he doesn't know how to play to the size of the room it just makes sense--in his professional opinion--to use electronic drums. He's not stating that's the only solution for drums.

Let's be honest, most churches cut corners on room acoustic treatment and rely on volunteers who often have great heart and intent, but are short on personal experience and training. We contracted Curt to help us correct the acoustics of our church auditorium, to improve the existing PA and to train our entire sound team on to how mix an entire band and singers. He spent most of the time teaching our staff how to properly tune, mic and mix drums. Acoustic drums. The results? After following Curt's suggestions our auditorium acoustics have improved drastically. It's like night and day. We've since pulled the drummers out of full enclosures and we mic different drummers and their kits in a variety of configurations to maximize their technique and style.

If it had been been anybody else having authored the article in question I would have likely jumped onboard with most of the comments here and exercised my gift of ranting and raving. If you could hang out with Curt and glean from his years of experience you would likely respect where he is coming from.
 

BillRayDrums

Gold Member
We keep it at 80 to 95db, I concider 80db exceptable for loud. Pipe organs can get very loud, but sound sweet. Outside of the world of church music, I've recorded drums in a old traditional church. Granted there was no one there, the room just sounded awesome with the natural ambiance of the room. I know in that case drums would be over kill, but we used it for a different reason.
I once bet a casino sound engineer his entire week's pay against mine (about $800 difference) that I could play quieter than 95db all night on an acoustic kit. After he saw he was gonna lose we called it off and he quit messing with me. Forever. :D
 

yesdog

Silver Member
I once bet a casino sound engineer his entire week's pay against mine (about $800 difference) that I could play quieter than 95db all night on an acoustic kit. After he saw he was gonna lose we called it off and he quit messing with me. Forever. :D
I played at a casino also, they put up that shield with a wedge as well. I was subbing for a band I used to be in. Thanks to there new drummer, he was so loud he pissed off the casino. So I had to suffer( a theme on this thread) when ever I'm playing at church I have in ear monitors. When we got done with the first set at the casino, I told them to take the shield down or I'm packing up and going home. It was the most painful experience I had for my ears. Drums splashing back in your face and a wedge at the same time. I had already mentioned it will be fine I can play to the room. After the shield was removed, it was just fine. The sound guy said the drum volume was very controlled and everyone was happy.
 

yesdog

Silver Member
Maybe I should have named this thread
"Why do drummers need to beat the snot out of there drums.
 
This article has become putrid in my eyes (joking!).

Ya know, whether in a church or other small venues, playing "softly", choosing the "right" sticks, and "muffling" the drums if need be, goes a long way. I have played in numerous churches and never has been an issue. I play Pro-Mark 7A cafe series sticks or similar ones, and makes a huge difference. As mentioned, even Hot Rods or Vic Firth Tala Wands can be used.

Also, buying "lightweight" cymbals helps a lot. I play Zildjians thins or fast crashes in church settings. I think Zildjian A, A Customs, or Zildjians K Dark's are the way to go.

Just my two cents since my forum name is "church drummer". :)
 

Drumsinhisheart

Silver Member
I am reminded that playing music in a church service, is just that - service. It isn't about me. It isn't about my drums, acoustic or electric, it's about serving and blessing a congregation with our talents, lent us of God. That is the Christian principle.

Personally, I have no problem playing edrums in a church. I play a TrapKat and I'd rather be able to play with normal playing movements and force than have to tone down everything just so I can play an acoustic set. And I have 18' of sound shields to wrap around my big acoustic set. For the actual amount of music happening in a typical service edrums are generally just easier for everybody. Ninety-five percent of church buildings I have been in are just not big enough for an acoustic set without changing something - sticks, shields, heads, cymbals, muffling, technique, etc. If people want to do that and the result is acceptable to everyone, so be it.

I don't know about mega-churches. Seems they could contain the sound.

Ultimately, though, it isn't about me and my desires or convenience. It's about what serves God, the church family, and worship best.
 

yesdog

Silver Member
I am reminded that playing music in a church service, is just that - service. It isn't about me. It isn't about my drums, acoustic or electric, it's about serving and blessing a congregation with our talents, lent us of God. That is the Christian principle.

Personally, I have no problem playing edrums in a church. I play a TrapKat and I'd rather be able to play with normal playing movements and force than have to tone down everything just so I can play an acoustic set. And I have 18' of sound shields to wrap around my big acoustic set. For the actual amount of music happening in a typical service edrums are generally just easier for everybody. Ninety-five percent of church buildings I have been in are just not big enough for an acoustic set without changing something - sticks, shields, heads, cymbals, muffling, technique, etc. If people want to do that and the result is acceptable to everyone, so be it.



I don't know about mega-churches. Seems they could contain the sound.

Ultimately, though, it isn't about me and my desires or convenience. It's about what serves God, the church family, and worship best.
Well said, " die unto yourself "
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
"It will only be achieved when we come out of denial and accept the realities of God’s perfect laws of physics."

The same ones that make electronic drums expensive, fragile, and possess terrible dynamics and utterly fake cymbal sounds? Yeah, way to improve the mix: make the drums sound crappier, and then turn them down. That'll make 'em feel the spirit.

What could go wrong?

Your "drummers" will love playing an instrument that, after a few shows, only produces its crappy sounds MOST of the time. Way to recruit talent. Could it simply be that mankind has not yet improved on an acoustic drum set?
 

Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant
Since when were churches supposed to be the leaders in technology. "The church is supposed to be the leader in technology. God’s glory rather than run and hide from it." Churches in my time have always been about tradition, regardless of the faith. I remember the first time I heard an acoustic guitar at a church service. Wow. What a shock.. I want to hear a nice organ played by an accomplished organist and a choir. The acoustic guitar is OK but a band needing a sound engineer. Really. Hard seats, vaulted ceilings. Echo chambers. I guess with the technology the baptismal font now needs to be a Jacuzzi.
Forgive me if I am incorrect, but you sound like you were raised as a Roman Catholic (as I was, with 12 years Catholic schooling). I am not religious currently yet a lifetime of Catholic teaching left me totally unprepared for the excitement and passion of a contemporary Christian Sunday service. Some of those groups get seriously worked up.

I remember thinking that Sister Patricia would have had a heart attack when I first went to my wife's Sunday service.

Oh, and by the way, playing softly is easy, you just need to stop being a pounding neanderthal and actually care about playing with a volume level appropriate to the setting. Yes, it takes practice but the most important tool will be your ear not your 7a sticks.
 

Drumsinhisheart

Silver Member
"It will only be achieved when we come out of denial and accept the realities of God’s perfect laws of physics."

The same ones that make electronic drums expensive, fragile, and possess terrible dynamics and utterly fake cymbal sounds? Yeah, way to improve the mix: make the drums sound crappier, and then turn them down. That'll make 'em feel the spirit.

What could go wrong?

Your "drummers" will love playing an instrument that, after a few shows, only produces its crappy sounds MOST of the time. Way to recruit talent. Could it simply be that mankind has not yet improved on an acoustic drum set?
Compared to this http://youtu.be/eLqTZ07ja7g I would say your example is one of - "What was he thinking?" The guy was not with the program and that was the most obvious thing whether he was playing edrums or had an acoustic set.

I have not been a total fan of module or software cymbal sounds but to the church members at large it makes no difference. They would not really notice the difference between electronic, a B8, AA, or HH in the context of music being played. They hear a ting or chip, they hear a crash, they hear a swell and certainly the better devices and software out there replicate those sounds adequately for the occasions, if the volume is controlled, as it was obviously not controlled in the example given. The guy just overplayed regardless of the instruments he sat behind.
 

Davo-London

Gold Member
So many posts seem to miss the point. The author is generalising about drummers because he has to. Any chuch community will, if they are lucky, have a number of drummers in the congregation. Some will be thrashers. The more sensitive drummers may find the balance and that's props to them.

I agree with the author. My experience, and I've been doing worship for about 20 years, is that it is very rare that we get the balance right. Only last week I wrote an email of concern to the worship leader about a particular drummer who simply plays way too loud.

Even though we have a screen and decent digital desk etc this drummer was too loud in the band area. I presume that the sound person had turned him down to zero and wished he could go lower.

I think it's a great idea to have a TD-30 in church and we can all play in harmony and focus on worshipping the Lord and not worrying about whether we need ear plugs for certain drummers.

Davo
 

yesdog

Silver Member
So many posts seem to miss the point. The author is generalising about drummers because he has to. Any chuch community will, if they are lucky, have a number of drummers in the congregation. Some will be thrashers. The more sensitive drummers may find the balance and that's props to them.

I agree with the author. My experience, and I've been doing worship for about 20 years, is that it is very rare that we get the balance right. Only last week I wrote an email of concern to the worship leader about a particular drummer who simply plays way too loud.

Even though we have a screen and decent digital desk etc this drummer was too loud in the band area. I presume that the sound person had turned him down to zero and wished he could go lower.

I think it's a great idea to have a TD-30 in church and we can all play in harmony and focus on worshipping the Lord and not worrying about whether we need ear plugs for certain drummers.

Davo
There is a lot of great feed back( no pun intended ) we have some drummers that over power the mics in the fish bowl. we invested in some nice gear only to be destroyed. My wife and I attended a marriage conference at the church I play at. They had worship, but it was musicians from another church. The drummer was beating on those drums so hard the sound guy muted him, and it was still overbearing. I was getting very angry watching this punk just kill our drum set. I replace and tune the drums as well. Mostly it comes out of my pocket, I'm glad to donate. How someone manages to dent pinstripes is beyond me. After our day was over I checked his Aviom settings, this guy had his drums muted. I don't get that. I spoke to our sound guy and tech director. To tell him he breaks any cymbals or ruins new heads he buys them. The next day he played a lot quieter. It sounded good, apearentlly words where said. The drummer played a lot lighter.
 

yesdog

Silver Member
As far as church goes, I think there is way to much emfecess put In to the music. The amount of money spent on sound, lights and all that stuff could be put to better use. All of that for maybe 30 min of music tops, average 20 min. Sometimes I feel like churches are ripe for sound companies to take there money. Music is just a small factor in the big picture. My final comment is, if you can't find musicians or a drummer to play quietly then don't use one. That's the most cost effective solution there is.
 

Drumolator

Platinum Member
I play at church twice a week, and I am the only drummer on our worship team. I play Mapex Saturn drums and Sabian AA, AAX, and Paragon cymbals. The drums and cymbals are miced. Sometimes I play as loud as I can, and sometimes I play very softly. Most often it is somewhere in between. I play what the song needs.

Our church is medium sized and has a very good PA system.

Peace and goodwill.
 

rogue_drummer

Gold Member
I just resigned from our praise and worship team after being the main drummer for 3 1/2 years. I had an old Pearl 5 piece drum set to play on in a plexiglass cage miked with 1 on the kick, 1 on the snare * sometimes * because it kept being robbed to use for other things, and 1 overhead mic.

The cymbals were trashcan lids, so I brought my own from home, but I didn't mind since the church needed the money for other things and not new cymbals.

The church bought a new sound board and other equipment and the audio techs busied themselves learning the new systems. Sometimes the sound was spot on, other times rather challenging, but we made it thru and accomplished what we set out to do in the service. We worked well as a team and made some great music.
 

goodcat1337

Senior Member
I consider myself fortunate to be able to play at a church where the ones that make the decisions in regards to the music and sound in general (senior pastor, associate pastor, worship pastor) are all great musicians themselves and understand sound as well. Our sanctuary seats about 400, so not super huge by any means, and we basically built an entire booth to keep the drums in. The idea of having to play in a completely different room as the rest of the band might not sound great, but I honesty don't mind it at all. We all use Avioms, and the keyboard player has a talkback mic to call out changes and stuff for us if needed.

I used to play on a terrible Alesis electronic kit. Worst playing experience I've ever had. There weren't even pads, they were all bars with a rubber trigger pad on them. Not only did they sound completely terrible, but not 6 months after I started playing them, the triggers started shorting out. You would hear the snare for 2 beats, then hear someone hitting a rubbermaid lid for the next 3. Then add in a random crash when hitting the floor tom for good measure.
 

brady

Platinum Member
I played at a casino also, they put up that shield with a wedge as well. I was subbing for a band I used to be in. Thanks to there new drummer, he was so loud he pissed off the casino. So I had to suffer( a theme on this thread) when ever I'm playing at church I have in ear monitors. When we got done with the first set at the casino, I told them to take the shield down or I'm packing up and going home. It was the most painful experience I had for my ears. Drums splashing back in your face and a wedge at the same time. I had already mentioned it will be fine I can play to the room. After the shield was removed, it was just fine. The sound guy said the drum volume was very controlled and everyone was happy.
I used to play in my church and I absolutely hated playing behind the plexiglass wall. I could never get anyone to understand that the "unwanted sound" actually bounces back at me. At least I had in-ears to minimize that issue.

What I don't understand is why church music is the only genre to insist the drummer play behind a shield, a box, or even worse, an electric kit.

I've been to many clubs over the years and witnessed countless jazz, blues, folk, rock, etc. acts play without any of that crap. The sound was always appropriate for the venue.

Why can't that happen in churches?
 
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